Yasmin’s only memory of her early childhood was violence. She was born on an Aboriginal mission run by the Churches of Christ. She lived with her parents but was often with aunts, uncles and her grandmother.
When Yasmin was two or three years old, she was sexually abused by her uncle. She recalls the first time, when he tried to put his penis in her mouth. Other kids were banging on the car to try and stop him. After the second time, Yasmin told her parents who tried to protect her.
Yasmin’s siblings were sent to orphanages, where they too were sexually abused. Yasmin’s not sure why she wasn’t sent with them. She believes she was under the notice of the Western Australian Child Welfare Department, but doesn’t recall receiving a visit from a caseworker.
When Yasmin was 12 years old she was abused by another relative, Frank Hillman. Hillman was charged with carnal knowledge but acquitted. Yasmin believes Hillman was himself abused by his own father, who was also abused by his father. Yasmin received victims compensation of $7,500. She also received some compensation as a result of being the victim of domestic violence. However, money doesn’t mean anything to her. Today, Yasmin is more interested in finding peace after many years of difficulty.
At 15, she was living in a government-run Aboriginal hostel. She became pregnant to the night watchman there, Brent Cahill, who was 24. About 10 years ago, Yasmin reported this sexual abuse to the police. Cahill was not charged with statutory rape even though Yasmin was underage at the time. He denied paternity.
Yasmin recalled the agony of childbirth and her fear and confusion when the baby was finally born. She was not allowed to keep the baby.
At around the age of 15 or 16, she recalls being in a car with some welfare officers. She jumped out of the car and ran away, and lived independently from welfare after that.
Yasmin has other children but is estranged from them. They too were removed from her care. She has grandchildren but is only in contact with one of them.
Her experiences as a child left her depressed. She has been hospitalised after attempting suicide and had to resign from work. She has attempted suicide many times and is now on a permanent disability pension. She missed out on much of her formal education but did attain some qualifications despite this.
Yasmin is determined to do the right thing by her grandchildren. ‘How I am, has gone through to my kids … and it’s got to stop. Can’t go through to my grandchildren … because they deserve to have a normal life, just being little kids.’